Mara Purl Shares WHERE THE HEART LIVES
Amazon.com, the world's largest bookseller, has chosen "Where the Heart Lives" for their June 22nd one-day Romance promotion. For one day only, the book will be downloadable for $2.99.
"This book is an emotional road trip," Purl explained. "How do we navigate past heartbreak and betrayal? How do we heal the deep wounds of our past? Where do we locate a road-map that can help us find where our heart really wants us to live? These are some of the questions my characters-and my readers-are asking themselves."
Purl's novels are often called the "Heart" novels-that word being featured in each title. "The head rules when it comes to making key navigational decisions in our lives," she explained. "But we all need to pay more attention to the OTHER map, the one that guides us toward where the heart is leading."
The author writes both from her imagination, and from her own experience. She had just become a best-selling author, when her mother was diagnosed with a terminal illness. Mara spent the last three years caring first for her mother, then her father, seeing each of them through hospice care at home. "This was an intense period for my family. I was able to spend most of my time caring for our extraordinary parents, who had given us a life so rich in theatre, in world travel, in core values and creativity. They were my biggest supporters and I miss them very much. But the time spent with them was precious, and now I know they'd be thrilled I've gotten back to work on my series."
Where the Heart Lives-the second best-selling book in Purl's well-known Milford-Haven saga-recently won its seventh book award, bringing the total number of awards for her book series to twenty-nine. Just as the publisher brings out the soft-cover edition for the first time, Amazon has chosen the ebook edition for their mammoth Daily Deal promotion. Meanwhile, the audio book version is being featured on Audible.
"It's synchronicity," the author commented, "that brings focus to this book from so many avenues at the same time, and for all of its editions-print, ebook and audio book. I'm grateful for all the attention to the book, which was both a challenge an a joy to write. But I'm even more grateful that this will bring the book to the attention of more readers. It's a book that truly speaks to the hearts of women, encouraging them to honor their own goals, respect their own time and energy, and take better care of themselves. Far from interfering with their many responsibilities, this helps them be even more effective in caring for their families, doing their jobs, and contributing to their favorite local activities." Purl, a firm believer that books can transform the way we think, also believes in pure escape. "Many of us-especially women-tend to live on permanent 'overwhelm' and sometimes we can give ourselves a great gift by escaping to a fictional world where we have instant perspective. Never underestimate the power of pure escape!"
Purl has become a leading spokeswoman for Women's Fiction-a genre read by 55 million readers-and is a frequent speaker at events for women's organization that support health and freedom from domestic violence. She has been a keynote speaker for the American Heart Association and several other heart-focused health organizations, as well as serving on advisory boards for women's shelters.
This is the third-in-a-row promotion bestowed on the well-known author by the behemoth bookseller. In May, her novella "When Hummers Dream" was their monthly romance pick. In June, her novella "When Whales Watch" is their adventure pick. Not to be out done, Audible is featuring the audio versions of both novels and both novellas that are part of the ongoing saga.
The third novella-"When Otters Play," a prequel to the third novel-is due out September 29th. And the long-awaited third novel, "Why Hearts Keep Secrets," makes its debut in February 2017.
Purl first made a name for herself playing "Darla Cook" on "Days of Our Lives." "I learned so much from performing on that show, having the opportunity to work with excellent writers, directors, and fellow actors. The discipline, the ongoing story structure, the character arcs-all intrigued me and became the starting point for my own storytelling. Not long after leaving the show, she did, in fact, create her own soap opera, but for radio rather than television. After a successful test-marketing period in the U.S., the show became the first American radio serial ever broadcast by the BBC, where it earned a following of 4.5 million listeners. This, in turn, laid the foundation for the book series she writes now.
Book two, "Where the Heart Lives," takes the reader through an expanded trip through her home territory. "I'd never written about my home city Los Angeles," Purl admitted. "My readers will get an in-depth look at the L.A. of the 1990s as my protagonist Miranda Jones, a wildlife artist, travels from the Palos Verdes lighthouse, to Hollywood, then winds her way through the Angeles Crest Mountains out to the Mojave Desert. As she travels, of course she uses her head to find her way. But the real story is how she's trying to use her heart to navigate. Is she too focused on her career? Will this new relationship work? What is the resistance she still feels? What should she trust?"
An unsolved mystery runs through the book, keeping an ever-present tension lurking as Deputy Delmar Johnson conducts what is at this point only a missing person case. But the reader knows what the investigator suspects: that a dangerous killer still roams free somewhere on the Central Coast.
One of the more interesting cross-overs between fiction and fact is that readers are taken to a Doobie Brothers rehearsal, then to a major rock concert, then backstage-a thrill most readers have never experienced. Author Purl has been close friends with the Doobie Brothers for two decades. Members of the band appeared in her original hit BBC radio drama and now appear as themselves in her new novel. "The Doobies are long-time friends, and truly great musicians who've always had my respect. Their creativity and musicianship are just superb on every one of their recordings. But to see and feel their energy in front of a live audience is transforming. Being backstage for their first reunion concert several years was an experience that's never left me. That's what inspired this storyline. I can't thank them enough." Of course, backstage is only one of several locations where Purl's various romance storylines play out.
Purl's books-part romance, part mystery, and part soap opera-would defy categorization were it not for the encompassing Women's Fiction genre, which includes Romance, but is larger in scope with room for Purl's less predictable and more realistic plot and character development.
"My writing is romantic-which is why several of my awards are the Romance category. But my stories don't follow a strict set of rules that a classic Romance Novel would," Purl said. "My concept of romance is a good deal more complex. Things don't wrap up neatly at the end of each book. But believe me, the romance storylines will have thrilling and satisfying conclusions by the end of book five. These are the pentalogy-What, Where, Why, Who and When-the five questions of the heart asked in each these first five book titles."
Purl has always been a trail-blazer, with her original radio drama Milford-Haven U.S.A becoming the first American radio serial on the BBC where it gathered 4.5 million listeners throughout the U.K. Now she's blazing a trail in the U.S., where stories usually appear first an novels, then as scripted media. No other novel series began first as a dramatic series.
The former "Days of Our Lives actress" has garnered critical success for her fresh, original novels. She may be taking readers on an expansive road trip in this book but she puts the magnifying lens on what matters most to her readers: the heart.
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From Trade Reviews:
Kirkus Review noted "Purl imbues her soap opera finesse into the fictional setting of Milford-Haven" and
summed up book one with "This may be Apple Pie, USA, but hearts are on the line, professions are at stake and a possible murder has tainted the landscape." Kirkus again praised the author's work in book two by saying "Skillfully interspersing the moment-to-moment thoughts of her characters with their actions and dialogue, Purl effortlessly moves from one personal story to another."
PW noted the author's aptitude for long-form story-telling with "Purl presents the first novel in her Milford-Haven series, which . . . features a setting of unadulterated beauty . . . and a cast of successful, sexy, sometimes quirkily independent characters. . . The novel is poised to convince readers to continue with the series."
ForeWord praised Purl's deft handling of her artist-protagonist by noting "Miranda the artist . . . is creative, outdoorsy, and very concerned with the environment and animal welfare. Her thoughts while painting, sketching, or considering her work bring the reader deep inside her psyche and illuminate her seascapes and animal portraits. Of a cheetah named Lia who waits on the easel to be completed, Miranda says, 'My job is to reveal her spirit, not to encase her in paint.' This simple sentence conveys the values and vision of the artist both in her work and her life."
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Awards for this book:
IBA - International Book Award - Winner, Women's Lit
USA Regional Excellence Book Award - Winner, Western Region
Beverly Hills Book Award - Winner, Regional Lit
Southern California Book Award - Winner, Regional Lit
USA Book News Best Book Award - Finalist, Romance
NIEA - National Indie Excellence Award - Finalist, Romance
EVVY Awards - Winner, Fiction